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Teacher Bios

Strings Program Teachers & Students - Latino Arts

Dinorah Márquez, Latino Arts InstructorDinorah Márquez | Director, Latino Arts Strings Program & Mariachi Juvenil; Violin/Viola Instructor

Dinorah Márquez was born in Mexico City. At the age of 10, she immigrated with her family to El Paso, Texas, where she began her musical studies with violinists James Angerstein and Abraham Chavez. Marquez completed her undergraduate studies in American Studies, at Northwestern University, with a minor in International Studies at the University of Florence, Italy. She later worked as Assistant Press Secretary for Mayor Harold Washington in the City of Chicago. After several years, she returned to her musical activities both in the U.S. and Mexico, where she was a guest performer with the Filarmónica del Bajío in Guanajuato, the Orquesta de Mexico in Mexico City, and the Camerata del Estado de Veracruz.

Marquez founded an ethnomusicology project, which continues to this day. It focuses on the preservation of indigenous violin traditions in Xico, Veracruz, Mexico. She received a master's degree in Viola Performance and String Pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She also received a Certificate in Chamber Music from the Leonard Sorkin International Institute of Chamber Music where she studied with the members of the Fine Arts Quartet.

Upon graduation, Marquez established the national award winning Latino Arts Strings Program (LASP). The LASP has given her the opportunity to provide immigrant Latino children with the type of musical training she received as an immigrant child. Learn more about the awards and recognition received by Marquez and the LASP.

Alberto Villalobos, Latino Arts InstructorAlberto Villalobos | Violin Instructor

Born in Xalapa, Mexico, in 1982, Villalobos holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Veracruz where he studied violin with Mexican pedagogue Carlos Marrufo. He received the National Endowment for the Culture and the Arts scholarship (FONCA) to carry out a master’s degree at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels, Belgium, where he studied with Igor Oistrakh. He has participated in master classes with Liviu Prunaru and Alberto Lysy at the International Yehudi Menuhin Academy in Switzerland, at the Mozarteum in Austria with Igor Oistrakh, at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Judith Ingolfsson and at the Wiener Conservatory in Vienna with Zakhar Bron.

Trischa Loebl, Latino Arts InstructorTrisCha Loebl | Cello & Piano Instructor

Trischa Loebl holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello and Piano Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University. Her principal cello teachers are Parry Karp, Alan Harris, and Uri Vardi. Loebl has been with the LASP as cello instructor since 2006. Dhe had previously taught at the String Academy of Wisconsin at UW-Milwaukee for 16 years. Her students have won many competitions and have played as concerto soloists and recital soloists, including at the Racine Symphony Solo Competition and the Wisconsin Cello Society Solo Competition. An active performer, Loebl plays in the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Bel Canto Chamber Orchestra, and sits as principal cello of the Waukesha Symphony. In 2014, Loebl was awarded the “Excellence in Youth Music Education” award by the Civic Music Association.

Alberto Cardenas, Latino Arts InstructorAlberto Cardenas | Folk Guitars, Vihuela, & Guitarron

Alberto Cardenas was born in Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico. Cardenas comes from a family of musicians, his grandfather was a band leader and his mother and aunts had a group known as “Las Hermanitas.” He began his guitar studies at the age of 12 and studied with Cadena y Duarte and with Roberto Martinez. He began a Mexican musical ensemble known as a “Rondalla” in 1976, and in 1979 he entered the Music Conservatory Las Rosas in Morelia, Michoacán. After a few years he began to work with the Mexican trio genre and in 1989 he moved to Los Angeles where he studied flamenco guitar with Cornelio Ramos, and participated in various musical groups in East L.A. In 1992, he moved to Milwaukee and began working with the Mariachi genre. Since 1994, he has directed various ensembles, including, Raíces Mexicanas, Mi Tierra, Trío México, and Trío Alma Latina. Currently he directs and performs with Voces y Cuerdas de Mexico, a quartet that includes violin, vihuela, guitar, and guitarron.

John Babbitt, Latino Arts InstructorJohn Babbitt | Bass Instructor

John Babbitt has been a faculty member of the LASP for the last five years, in the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music since 1994, and an adjunct professor in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Music Department. He holds Master of Music in Performance on Double Bass from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Babbitt has worked and taught extensively throughout the Midwest as a professional bassist and educator in both jazz and classical formats. He served as Wisconsin Conservatory of Music faculty chair of the String Department from 1996 to 1999, and has also served as adjunct faculty at UW-Milwaukee, UW-Stevens Point, Concordia University, Carroll College, Alverno College Community Arts Department, the String Academy at UW-Milwaukee, and the Oshkosh Summer String Camp. Babbitt also works with the Progressions Program of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, a program designed to train young bassist of diverse backgrounds. Babbitt currently works with our high school students.

Jone Ruiz, Latino Arts InstructorJone Alan Ruiz | Classical Guitar, Cuatro

Jone Ruiz was born in Puerto Rico and began his studies in the Interamerican University where he holds a bachelor's degree in classical guitar and studied with the distinguished classical guitarist Linda Chellouf. In 2010 he participated in a national interchange program through the Complutense University in Madrid where he had the opportunity to take classes in music education and private guitar lessons with Professor Demetrio Ballesteros in Ajofrin, Toledo. He has also studied in master classes with some of the world's leading guitarist including, Jorge Caballero, Ana Vidovic, Martha Masters, Thomas Kirchhoff, Adam Holzman, Jose Antonio Escobar, Valerie Hartzell, Berta Rojas, and Steve Lin, among many others. He has performed nationally and has participated in different festivals and competitions around the United States. Currently Ruiz is in his last semester of pursuing a master's degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he studies with world renowned guitarist, Rene Izquierdo.

Manuel Almeida, Latino Arts InstructorManuel Rodriguez Almeida | Classical Guitar, Guitarron

Manuel Rodriguez was born in El Paso, Texas and raised in Juarez, Chihuahua. He began his studies at the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP) where he studied with John Siqueiros for two years and then transferred to and received his Bachelor of Music Performance from Texas A&M University under the tutelage of the classical guitarist, Dr. Isaac Bustos. He is now fulfilling his master's at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee studying under the world-renowned guitarist, Rene Izquierdo.

Rodriguez has performed in numerous master classes for guitarists including Adam Holzman, Rovshan Mamedkuliev, Ricardo Cobo, William Kanengiser, and Zoran Dukic. He has also performed with The Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, the Texas A&M University Symphony Orchestra, for the Brazos Valley Art Society, and Texas A&M President, Michael K. Young. In 2015 he placed first at the University of Texas-Brownsville competition under the duo category with his colleague Alejandro Rodriguez. In addition to the classical guitar, Manuel has been a freelance mariachi musician specialized in guitarron and rhythm guitar for more than six years, performing with groups in the West Texas area such as Mariachi Los Pasajeros, Mariachi Raices de America, Mariachi Los Toritos, Trio Los Aventureros, and many more.

Alonso Ibarra, Latino Arts InstructorAlonso Ibarra | Violin/Viola Instructor

Alonso Ibarra and his family moved from Mexico City to Milwaukee when he was five years old, and shortly thereafter he began taking violin lessons, and would later take up viola at the age of 18. Ibarra was a member of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra for eight years, and he still continues to be an active chamber and symphony musician with the Falls Baptist Chamber Strings and Symphony Orchestra, who won a performance position at the Mid-West Clinic in Chicago in 2010. Recently, the Chamber Strings have gained national recognition as the chamber ensemble for Governor Scott Walker, having performed several times at his executive residence and at his 2014 inauguration in Madison, Wisconsin. In the summer of 2013, Ibarra was part of the music promotional quartet for his college and gave musical performances throughout the West Coast and in his native Mexico.

Ibarra has been coached by several leading pedagogues and performers including Mimi Zweig, Richard Hynson (Bel Canto Chorus), Sarah Kapustin, among others. He has been actively involved in the community as a violin teacher at Waukesha String Academy and Falls Baptist Music School. His passion is investing in young student's lives in order to see them become confident, compassionate, and community leaders. Currently, Ibarra is finishing a bachelor's degree in music pedagogy and beginning a master's in theology at Baptist College of Ministry in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. He is studying violin under Elizabeth Zempel, viola under Jamie Hofman, and conducting under Daniel Van Gelderen.

Carlos Serrano, Latino Arts InstructorCarlos Serrano | Guitar Instructor

Born in Bogota (Colombia), Carlos Serrano began playing the guitar at age 15 and learning Classical Guitar at age 19. He is a prize winner of the 19th Annual FIU Concerto Competition and received the Honorary Mention in the 2016 South Florida Young Artist Competition. Serrano holds a bachelor’s degree in classical guitar performance from Florida International University and is currently completing his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Serrano has studied with Italian guitarist Federico Bonacossa, Turkish guitar composer Mesut Ozgen, Cuban virtuosi Rafael Padron, and guitarist Rene Izquierdo.

Ben Dameron, Latino Arts InstructorBen Dameron, Latino Arts InstructorBen Dameron | Classical Guitar Instructor

Ben Dameron is a classical and jazz guitarist from Seattle, WA. His most influential teachers were Kevin Callahan, Sérgio Assad, and Rene Izquierdo. He earned his Bachelor of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and his Master of Music from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In his spare time he loves to improvise, compose, run, bike, and play chess and scrabble.